If you’re dismissed or made redundant, you should be told why, and have the chance to challenge an unfair decision. Under National’s unfair employment laws, you’ll be out of luck.
A lot of Kiwis don’t have to imagine what it’s like to lose your job. Too many of us have gone through that in the past five years – 40,000 workers in the manufacturing sector alone.
If National gets its way, soon you won’t have to imagine what it would be like not just to lose your job, but to have no right to know why.
Under the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, employers will be able to make people redundant, or dismiss them, but refuse to show them the information they used to make that decision.
So if five of your co-workers lose their jobs, but three get to stay on, you might never know why those three were the lucky ones.
And if you – or someone you know – is being sacked, you can be denied the information you need to defend yourself. How is that fair?
The Government says that this is about privacy. They say that people who come in to evaluate workers for the chopping block shouldn't be identified, because then they might be too scared to give an honest opinion. Same goes for anyone who says a worker should be sacked for misconduct. So they say workers shouldn't have the right to see interview notes or “opinion material” – even when that opinion has cost them their job.
I think it’s a lot scarier to lose your job and not even be allowed to know who made the decision, and why. And it’s a lot more difficult to challenge it if you think it’s unfair.
Under National’s laws, one day you might just see all your union reps walking out the door. It’s not legal to fire them just because they’re union reps, of course. But when the boss doesn’t have to justify the decision, how is anyone meant to fight it?